Friends Forever

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a child.


About Us

The Y-Adventure Guides/Princess Program is part of the National YMCA Adventure Guides Program. The program provides many opportunities in many unique settings that you are unlikely to find otherwise. It is designed to help a parent (or Guardian) and a child build a strong, long lasting relationship by spending quality time together doing enjoyable activities that help promote communication. In the Y-Adventure Guide/Princess Program, a father and child go on a fantastic journey of learning and growing together in a program that encourages fun, understanding, and companionship with each other as well as with other fathers and children in the program. Together they build memories, self-esteem, and develop the foundation for a lifelong healthy relationship.

Benefits for Fathers:
For fathers, this program offers the chance to bond with your child on many levels and build a loving and trusting relationship that will last a lifetime. This special relationship will help both of you during the often troublesome middle and high school years and may even influence important decisions later in life. The program also offers you the opportunity to meet and interact with other fathers and their children for a truly unique learning experience.

Benefits for Children:
For children, the program offers an opportunity for a wide and diverse circle of friends that often become more like a large family. The older kids usually take on the leadership roles, helping and teaching the younger kids while the younger kids look up to the older kids for guidance like they would a big brother or sister. The program helps the children build self-esteem, develop a strong sense of identity, of belonging, and of personal accomplishment. The kids also get to witness first hand how other fathers and their children interact with each other.

Benefits for both:
Together, you'll see and do things that you otherwise might not have the opportunity to do such as; camping all over the beautiful State of Arizona, canoeing, horseback riding, rock climbing, building and racing a pinewood derby car, going to a formal father/daughter dance, playing games, singing songs, telling stories, and many, many, more fun activities. Together, you'll also learn many things about Arizona, about nature, about history, about yourselves, but most importantly, about each other as you grow and learn together! Don't miss out on this amazing once in a lifetime opportunity. Start your father/child adventure today!

Who are we?
The Chandler/Gilbert Y-Adventure Guides/Princess Program is made up of fathers and their children (ages 5-12) from the Chandler/Gilbert area as well as from other areas in the South East Valley such as Ahwatukee, Tempe, Mesa, Queen Creek, Apache Junction and more. The father/child pairs are divided into "Circles" of generally 4-12 pairs per Circle. The Circles can be created according to such things as geographic location, age groups, or current friendships. The "Circles" then combine to create the "San Tan Expedition" for the larger events. Also see the Trail Mates/Blazers program for girls and boys ages 10-14.

What do we do?
The Y-Adventure Guides/Princess Program is designed to keep the kids (and the dads) interested and having fun. The father and child can attend monthly Circle meetings which are held at one of the Circle member's homes. These meetings can include such things as games, songs, stories, crafts, community service, or small outings such as skating, bowling, or even laser tag. Each month also features an "Expedition" event in which all of the Circles in the San Tan Expedition participate together in one large group. These larger events can include such things as weekend camping in designated group campgrounds (typically at State Parks or in National Forests), Winter cabin camping in January, a Pinewood Derby race in December, family fun at Amazing Jake's, a father/daughter "Sweetheart dance" in February, participation in the Chandler Ostrich Festival parade, "family camping" at Old Tucson Studios, plus hiking, exploring, songs, stories, games, crafts, and more camping.

How do I Join?
The program generally runs with a typical school year (September-June) with the majority of registration happening in August but you can always join in the fun and adventure anytime. Just download and fill out this Registration Form and then mail, fax, or bring it to the Chandler/Gilbert YMCA to start your father/child adventure today! If you prefer, you can Register Online instead. If you have a friend already in the program, be sure to include the name of their Circle under "Circle Preference."

History of the program
The program has its roots dating back to the 1920s when Harold Keltner, a YMCA executive in St. Louis, Missouri, and Joe Friday, an Ojibway Indian hunting guide, founded a program called the Indian Guides.
As Joe Friday commented to his friend:

 
"The Indian father raises his son. He teaches his son to hunt, to track, to fish, to walk softly and silently in the forest, to know the meaning and purpose of life and all that he must know, while the white man allows the mother to raise his son."

The idea arose to provide a program where the father (or guardian) would have the opportunity to “guide” their son in exploring the outdoors and teaching them the ways of the land. This program was based on dignity, patience, endurance, spirituality, feeling for the earth, and concern for the family.

In the 1950's the program was expanded to include fathers and daughters (Indian Princesses) as well as mothers/sons and mothers/daughters. At the beginning of this Century, the program underwent some changes and has now officially become The YMCA Adventure Guides Program. The Chandler/Gilbert YMCA currently has the Adventure Guides for Fathers/Sons and the Adventure Princesses for Fathers/Daughters.

Don't let you child grow up without you
Join Us Today!